My dear, you are an inconvenience. Even when I have nothing left to give, you demand that too. You steal my energy, my sanity, my clear thinking. No longer do I arrive to meetings, activities, life on time. I put on a clean shirt -- an actual shirt, not a workout shirt -- and within moments you have dirtied it. I put you in a clean outfit and without fail, the moment before we walk out the door, it is stained. I had gotten so very used to a life where I put me first. I'm hungry: I eat. I'm tired: I sleep. I need to run errands: I leave the house. My dear, I can't do that anymore. You arrive, and things aren't so easy anymore. You arrive, and my world has flipped.
My baby, you make life difficult. I don't sleep anymore. My nights are not my own; uninterrupted slumber is a dream through which I once unknowingly danced. Sweetheart, I think that I finally have a grasp on who you are, what you need, who I need to be to meet your needs, and then in a blink you have changed and I am left wondering how to take care of and shape this little person that is once again new to me. You need me, you cannot live without me. You are so very dependent on me.
My dear, I used to be able to live the facade: I could pretend that I had it all together, and no one was the wiser. I could put on the pretty face, the nice clothes, succeed wherever I could succeed, and give the right answers. But your outright disobedience, peanut butter-smeared cheeks, and too short pants betray my put together. I used to be able to pretend that I knew what I was doing, but now that is impossible. I've been figured out. I used to think that I had all the answers, knew the best way to do things, knew how to get her child to sleep and to nurse and to obey and to stop crying, and had my own path charted out for life, career, mommyhood. I don't have those answers, after all; I don't have it together, and you make that abundantly clear to any in our path. We are a circus. You keep me on my toes. You bring chaos.
My baby, you changed the rhythm of our family. We could once go on a date whenever we wanted -- actually our whole existence was a date before you arrived. We could once pick up and go on a getaway for a whole weekend thinking no further than in which restaurant we wanted to eat. We could sleep in, travel with ease, use disposable income on our own desires and wants. But now you -- you, my love. You are my priority. I now worry for you and about you. I peek on you as you sleep, I lay my hand on the small of your back and feel your breath rise and fall. I willingly give my all and everything after that again to you.
My baby. You make life complicated. What once seemed so perfectly clear, isn't so easy anymore. What I once thought was black and white is now shrouded in shades of gray. My priorities have shifted. My goals have tilted a little off of their track onto a new one.
Oh yes, you bring chaos. You are needy. You have flipped my world.
And through my sleep-deprived vision and doubt-filled moments, this I know for sure: you are worth it. The exhaustion, the questioning, the flipped world, the uncertainty. You, my love, my baby, my dear. Along with inconvenience you bring everything to me and so much more. You bring it all. You bring love. Along with your exhaustion, you bring joy. And with your complexity, you bring clarity.
You get in the way of me. And that, honestly, is actually the biggest inconvenience of all. You make abundantly obvious the futility of living a life that revolves around me and is all about me and ends with me. It took you entering my world for me to understand that. You teach me life lessons every single day, do you not know that? That a life lived serving others, a life in which grace and love and mercy and sacrifice and forgiveness and adventure and laughter and joy and out-loud-messy-life and less of me is the very best, most fulfilling life. I will give my all to you for I want you to have the very best most fulfilling life.
And I will continue. When you demand my all and everything again after that, it is yours. When you cannot go to sleep without your legs wrapped around my arms, your body nestled firmly into my belly, your head cradled in the crook of my elbow and your whole entire hand grasped around my one right thumb, you can do it. When we enter a friend's house, a grocery store, a library, and you live out loud and show the world our imperfections, I will embrace the experience; go do that.
We are imperfect, we don't have it together. Come join us. It is in embracing our imperfections that we can step into others' stories and in which they can step into ours. Thank you for opening us up. Thank you for showing me love. Thank you for flipping my world upside down and around again. Thank you for getting in the way of me. Thank you for bringing so much clarity with your complexity.
I needed that.
Sarah Sandifer writes about her thoughts on life, motherhood, and marriage at www.thejellyjars.com where this post first appeared.